The open house has been a part of home selling for more than 100 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Fast forward to today and, although still a tool that many real estate agents use, the open house has decreased in popularity. We can thank the internet for that. With online access to video tours, virtual tours and 3-D floor plans, many homebuyers decide which homes to view online, not by driving around and visiting open houses on weekends.
According to Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends, the NAR’s annual survey, when asked about the first step taken during the home buying process, only 2% of respondents visited an open house.
While more than half of homebuyers found the home they eventually purchased online, only 4% purchased a home they found with a “yard/open house” sign.
With a changing market, however, an open house just might be what helps sell your home. Let’s take a look at ways to ready the home for the big day.
Let folks know
Yes, your real estate agent will get the word out about your open house, but who better to spread the word among the neighbors than you? Ensure you visit them and extend an invitation to the open house.
Ask if they know anyone who might like to live in the neighborhood and urge them to bring those folks along on open house day.
Don’t forget people you work with. Ask your real estate agent for a handful of fliers and pass them out at work.
The four-legged family members
The best thing to do with pets during the open house is to find someplace for them to go. If you can’t take them with you when you leave for the day, can you keep them at a family member or friend’s home? If not, how about a day at the groomers or doggy daycare?
Remove all evidence of the furry friends, such as crates, bowls and toys and attend to any pet-related repairs.
Secure what needs securing
We’ve found that most open house attendees are honest folks. But, there is the occasional exception. For this reason, it’s important to secure certain items in the home, such as weapons, prescription drugs and valuables.
Taking these items off-premise is the best way to assure that they’re secure.
Don’t leave any financial information, such as bank statements, investment information, blank checks, credit or other bank cards in plain view or in drawers, unless the drawer can be locked.
Do it yourself or hire someone, but get it done
Clean your house. Keeping a clean house is probably the most tedious task of selling a home, but cleaning it for the open house is critical.
We aren’t talking tidying up here, but cleaning deeply, until the house is immaculate. Professional house cleaners often suggest that you come up with a system and one that we like starts at the front door. From there, you work your way around the home from left to right or right to left, whichever you choose.
As you move through the home, start each new area by cleaning from top to bottom, from the ceiling to the floor. This way you don’t miss any spots that are commonly missed such as that area where the ceiling meets the wall, the baseboards and the light fixtures.
Then, turn your attention to the garage. A two-car garage is in demand with homebuyers but that same garage offering obvious storage options is something folks clamor after.
Clean and declutter the space and then highlight any storage options it offers.
The open house is your home’s chance to grab local homebuyers’ attention. Ensure that it puts its best ‘foot’ forward for a quick sale.